Monday, June 30, 2008

I have been traveling on airplanes since I was 6 years old so, to have one cancelled flight which screwed up my plans isn’t really something to bitch about.

I am writing this as I sit in the Philadelphia airport waiting for my final flight back to Florida. I should have been making this flight a day ago, but the weather in Syracuse had other plans for me. I had come to upstate New York for the Starfleet International Conference. This is our annual Board of Directors meeting and, since I am a member of that board, I am mandated to attend. My region of chapters pays for my flight and room so it makes for a very inexpensive trip. As I have said before, being in a position of responsibility in Fleet has afforded me the opportunity to see some places I might never have even thought of going and Ithica is one of them.

I flew out Friday morning in a rushed state. I slept about 30 minuets later than I should have and the whole trip seemed rushed because of it. I rolled into the West Palm Beach airport on fumes and made it to my gate just as they were boarding. When we got to my connection in Washington, DC we had to wait 15 minuets on the tarmac for a gate to clear. Luckily, all I had to do was take five steps across the concourse to my next gate, walked on the plane an right into my seat.

My good friend, Lisa along with her little girl, Jillian and friend Monique were there to meet me in Syracuse and were shuttling me to the conference. We used the hour long ride to catch up and gab. I had missed the first half, and apparently long, boring and drawn out, portion of the meeting arriving just after lunch.

These meetings, and the organization as a whole, are an interesting thing. At our heart, this is a fan club. We do good deeds for our communities and for charities but also are a very dysfunctional group. While intentions may sometimes, not all the times, be good, many of these folks don’t know how to positively criticize and, instead, jump down people’s throats, antagonize, insult and berate anyone’s else’s ideas and opinions contrary to their own.

It was with this in mind that I was amazed at how the EBAC meeting went shorter than I thought it would and was nothing like the blood bath I expected. The “opposition” to our current leadership had barely given this team anything of a “honeymoon period” and have not let up. Granted, this administration has made some glaring mistakes which makes even me question them at times. However, this meeting went smooth and easy; almost congenial at times. We did get things accomplished but I was waiting for more. I have spoke to people on both sides and whether evasion was intentional of one side’s part or the other either never saw or was given the opportunity to bring up the controversial issues those issues will continue to play out over the next few months. IC always tends to energize people and it has done so with me. There are two issues in front of the leadership of our group which I have some clear ideas on and hope I will be able to add to the debate.

One of the surprises of the weekend was meeting up with an old friend, Robin Curtis. She was there along with another Trek actor John “JG” Hertzler. I had not seen Robin in about 2 years and caught her and John in the restaurant. I have known Robin for almost 20 years and we have kept in contact and retained a friendship outside of the fandom. We caught up and she was pleased to hear of my inroads to get into acting professionally. Talking “the craft” with John was also fantastic. He has a passion for acting and to be talking with the both of them like a peer was invigorating. During the Q&A session they did together I was able to coax a Shakespearean performance out of him which was amazing.

Robin has a one woman play she has been working on over the past few years which is a phenomenial piece of work. While her career was relatively short and a lot of “fluff” TV like “MacGyver” and “Airwolf” this piece that she has written is what real acting is all about, being truthful. It is sort of a personal “Vagina Monologues”. I even talked with her about the possibility of bringing it to Florida if she ever wanted to test it out. She has a new career in real estate and is giving that her focus of energy. I could still see, behind her eyes, that spark of an actor’s passion whenever she talked about it and how the itch to perform is still there under the surface.

IC is also a chance to meet up with other friends I have made over the years with this group. This weekend, especially, afforded me the opportunity to spend time with my friends Dave and Leslie. While they only live three hours away we hardly see each other and when we do, at most other conventions, it is hit and run. This time we shared a few meals and talked and laughed like old friends do.

It all came to an end and Lisa showed up to play chaueffeur again. We had more than enough time so she brought me to her house to see where she lived and meet her “significant other”, Howard. He grilled hot dogs, hamburgers and these things called spiedies. These are a simple marinated pork, lamb or chicken grilled and served on a single slice of Italian bread. I usually search out local foods and regional favorites but this one really could have gone unnoticed. For some reason, the locals in and around Binghampton, NY make a big deal out of these; going as far as having A Spiedie Festival. The major reason for this I found by driving around the area; the ain’t much frakking else to do in that neck of the woods! Thanks for making them, Howie but, really, get a regional food with some pizzaz to it!

After dinner we drove back to Syracuse. While I was ready to fly back to Florida, the weather had other plans. There were delays going up to 9PM which meant I would miss connections and eventually, after sleeping in an airport for up to 8 hours, back home late in the afternoon. I called Lisa and she came back to get me. I opted to take a flight out first thing in the morning which would put me back to West Palm Beach around lunch time. The best part of this is hat it gave me more time with Lisa. OK, so most of it was spent driving back and forth from Syracuse to Binghampton, but we had plenty of time to talk.

And yes; one of those topics was Julie. Lisa has seen me through many of these situations and is always able to give me the female perspective. She’s not always able to explain the why’s of how a woman reacts and thinks but she does give me an insight into the thought process. And she wasn’t the only one who weighed in and offered to come back to Florida to “have a talk with Julie”; I had three other readers of my blog come up to me and mention the situation. I want to thank each of you for not only reading this blog on a regular basis but for caring as well. It is satisfying to know that this blog isn’t simply my outlet for venting through my life but a way of connection with other people.

My flight should be leaving soon and I’ll be glad to get out of the Philly airport; it really ain’t the best I’ve seen so far. I’ll have photos posted a day or two after I get home. Hope you weekend went better than mine.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A friend of mine said that I am handling this whole "Julie thing" very well. Being such a good friend she went on to clarify that "since you've done this so many times in a row you're getting good at it just out of repetition!"

Friday we spoke, she called me out of the blue, and made plans that I would stop by at a yard sale she was having the next morning before going in to work. I asked three times if she was sure she'd be awake and out in the driveway at 7AM; she assured me she would. I got there at 7:30 just to be sure and, of one was there. I went back home and took an hour's nap. As I was walking out the door she called having just woke up. We left it that she would call me later that night.

That was the last I have heard from her.

I almost went stalkeratzzi on her Sunday night as I planned on leaving a note on her car during the night. I sat in my car in the driveway like Cameron in "Ferris Beuller's Day Off"

"I'll go. I'll go. I'll go. I'll go.......No"

Finally, I sent a text message to "The Other Person" who has become my own person "Dr. Phil" during all of this and she seemed relieved I did not go through with my plan. As it turned out, the note and its use ended up being presented in a much more demonstrative fashion and may have served to get my message across in a much more sympathetic way.

In the note I simply pointed out that I have been patient and understanding throughout our time together and have been trying for the past to weeks to be open and available to talk this "whatever it is" she is feeling and going through but now the ball is in her court. I attached the note to a small vase of roses and delivered it to her office on the day her ex was getting out of jail.

The pin has been pulled, the grenade has been tossed and now I just wait for the earth shattering kaboom.

That was yesterday and the phone still hasn't rung.

Monday, June 23, 2008

My cousin, Cindy, bought me my first George Carlin album for my birthday when I was 12 years old. The album was Toledo Window Box. I doubt that my parents knew what she had bought me or what it would do to my life.

I played the hell out of that record. Over and over again; from start to finish. I would listen to each joke and, as I got to know the material better, would anticipate each punch line and wait for the audience reaction. I would try to picture the audience. It was recorded at the Paramount Theater is Oakland, CA which I imagined was small and crowded with thick clouds of cigarette smoke and the collected body heat combined with the spotlight on Carlin that the red brick walls were sweaty with condensation. The audience was in pitch black only broken by the occasional glow on an inhaled cigarette. The only light in the room was the piercing spotlight trained on Carlin.

I wanted to be there so bad.

After I had devoured that album I got my hands on AM/FM; the Rosetta Stone of stand up comedy which included “The Seven Words You Can’t Say on Television”.


I was in heaven!

Carlin spun words like Frisbees. He twisted them around and turned their meanings on its ear. With each twist he not only told a joke but made you think. While I enjoyed Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, Groucho Marx and others Carlin came along just at that moment in life when the grey matter is beginning to gel and independent thought starts. He opened my mind to truth and hypocrisy and how each deserves scrutiny and scorn. He also taught me how to do it with humor so as to make the other person think; maybe not at the moment of the joke when they are laughing but later when they have time to digest the idea behind it and go, “Hey, yeah, he’s right!”

I went through dozens of phonograph needles memorizing those albums. I would eventually recite his routines for other kids while waiting for the late bud a Gorton Jr. High School; and I killed each time! My first year in high school I did his “Al Sleet. The Hippie-Dippie Weather Man” routine for our Letterman’s Follies; and I killed.

I found out that Carlin started as a radio disk jockey so it was only natural that was the route I first chose for career. While my career did not go as well as his it did cause our paths to cross three times. I emceed one of his shows and interviewed him twice. He was very professional; almost too much so as his tight schedule (and more than likely other outside “issues” at the time) never allowed me the moment to tell him how much of an influence he was to me and thank him for bringing so much laughter into my life. But I did get to shake his hand and look him in the eye and, to me, that was almost like meeting Elvis.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The universe has a sick and twisted sense of humor. Just as I was coming to terms with what has been going on with Julie, just when I thought I had a way of protecting myself emotionally I got sucker punched out of the blue.

A friend of mine called me to his desk where he had photos from the company cookout. He handed me three which included me. One of me alone, one with my friend Clark and then the one that I can't stop looking at.

It is of me and two of Julie's girls; Emily and Nichole. I've got a big smile on my face. Emily has a smile just as big. And then there's Nicki. She is posing just like she always does in front of a camera. She is mugging for the camera with a big, silly, over the top smile.

As if I really needed a reminder.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

If you were betting I wasn't even going to get a phone call tonight, you would have lost. At almost 11PM Julie, at least, called me. While giving some excuses for not getting together as planned this time I could hear in her voice how important it was to her that we talked.

Some have asked why I still want to talk. "She clearly knows how you feel about here so it would be up to her to decide where she wants the relationship to go."

Yes, but I still am in the dark about how she feels, what she is thinking and how her mind changed. I also want to remind her of what we have had and what I have to offer for the relationship. And yes, make stark comparisons to her ex. I have avoided it in the past becuase that is a mistake I had made before but it seems necessary at this point when I get the feeling she wants him back in her life in a major way. Again, not knowing completely, I am shooting in the dark.

I did, in no uncertain terms, let her know that I was left out her hanging emotionally and how strongly I felt we had to talk about this. Maybe my friend was right, maybe I am being "too nice" and that she has to see how important this relationship is to me and that I am willing to fight for it.

Before you go getting all worried about me, for those of you who know me, I have set limits on this and have come to the bottom line conclusion that I have done all I can, been patient and understanding and if it does fall apart the blame is on her end. To be so cold and calculating about seems unfair but I feel I have to in order to protect myself emotionally or else I'll be the sad, moping, depressed slouch I have after some other breakups.

I guess I also feel I have to plead my case for the relationship so that, if it does fail, I will have the peace of mind that I did all I could right to the end. Am I hoping it goes, differently? Of course. In a perfect world, I hear her side....present my case and give her the opportunity to have interaction with her ex and give him a chance to be the a-hole we all know he is and then have a pretty clear cut choice.

But, this ain't a perfect world and I have to ready.

Apparently, I have learned something over the years.

Monday, June 16, 2008

I sit here and the phone hasn't rung.

Sunday morning I got up and went over again. As I was turning the corner onto her street Tom Petty's "The Waiting is the Hardest Part" came on the radio.

I almost threw it out the window.

I was met at the door my her mother and Nicky. Apparently, she had been up until 3AM with her oldest. Understandable that she'd still be asleep. So, I left asking her mother to have her call me later.

She actually did.

The conversation was stilted and we didn't even get near "THE TOPIC" except to say that we had to make plans to get together to talk. SHe went through some of the things that had been happening during the week and passing excuses for not being in contact. The vibe I got off this conversation was not good at all.

Apparently, it was clear to everyone at work today that something was up. I had a number of people say something to me. I guess a dark cloud does show a little conspicuously. I tried to put on a good face but, ironically, it was only "The Other Person" who got me to laugh during the day.

Julie and I left things that we are supposed to get together tomorrow night. She is supposed to call tonight to make some sort of plans. That leaves only 30 minutes.

No, not a good vibe at all.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

It has been three days since I last saw Julie and two days since we talked. No, things aren't going too well. She has crappy cell phone service to begin with and then one of the girls damaged the phone she has. That may account for part of the lack of contact. I am trying not to panic.

I had sent her flowers at work Monday and talked to her briefly that evening. She was worried I was mad at her after Sunday's conversation and I reassured her I was not. Honestly, I am not. Frustrated, yes; but angry, no. I am trying to see things from her point of view and to give her time and space to figure all of this out.

But the lack of contact is driving me nuts. I finally went by tonight to see her but no one was home. I left a short note (the least stalker-like thing I could think of doing) saying I missed her and urged her to call or stop by.

The frustration is the worst part. Not knowing what the hell is going on in her head. But, of course I thought I knew that to being with but, apparently, I was wrong.

I don't know how I can say this without sounding sexist but since this appears to be the second time in recent history that this has happened in a relationship I think I can ask; what the fuck is with you women?! I was once engaged to be married. She was the one who asked me; she actually gave me a ring and proposed. Then four months later she said she simply changed her mind and "didn't love me anymore". Two weeks ago Julie calls me up out of the blue to say that I make her happier than she's been in a long time and she wants to be boyfriend and girlfriend and in less than a week can't find the words to describe us to a stranger. How do you shut it off like that? I still have lingering feelings for both of my ex-wives and probably still carry a torch or two from back in high school. Yet women seem able to just flip a switch and move on.

Maybe that's just anger rearing its ugly head. I am really trying not to be angry with Julie; she has a lot she's going through. A good friend of mine says I'm being too nice and maybe she's right. I simply want this to work. I have been nurturing this relationship differently than others over the past nine months and don't want to lose it.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

After years of dating, two marriages and other sorts of relationships you would have thought I would have learned and been able to spot the signs early; and this time I thought I had.

After only a short time as "boyfriend", my relationship has hit a pothole of sorts. I have been dating Julie on and off since last September and, as time went by, we continued to get closer and closer. As you might have seen in a recent post, she decided that we should "take things to the next level" and said she was comfortable with being called me girlfriend. She said a lot of other things that day which made me feel as if things were finally going right.

I knew there were issues with her ex and I brought them up with her that night. I wanted to make sure that neither of us would be going through an emotional roller coaster; again, something I thought I had learned over the years. As I had been throughout this whole "relationship" I was willing to give her the time and space she needed.

The first thing I noticed was the lack of displays of affection. I am a demonstrative person and like to show the person I am with just how much I like them. All we exchanged were hugs. If I made the first move, we would occasionally hold hands. My Spidey Sense was tingling that something was up.

Yesterday we had gone out driving around to yard sales and something else happened which slapped me right in the face. As we nosed around with Nichole and Ashlyn in tow one of the people running a yard sale asked if I were her brother or boyfriend....and she hesitated, paused and stuttered before answering that we were "dating". The fact that she hesitated in front of a total stranger was significant.

Today, Julie, her kids and father, came over to swim and have a meal. Before she left I broached the subject. She admitted that there were some unresolved emotions over her ex. I have never gone into the details of that relationship suffice to say he's an asshole who abused her and has passing interest in being a father. He had been a part of her life, for better or worse, for the past 10 years; so, breaking that tie has been harder than she figured. We didn't have much time to talk and our conversation was continually interrupted by the girls.

She has promised that we will talk more but my Spidey Sense continues to tingle.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Listen to the words. Bobby made this speech on the spot in Indianapolis. 40 years later and these words are as strong and as meaningful as they were in 1968.